Cast Liners and Synthetic Cast Materials

A body cast, or hip spica cast is used after closed reduction or surgery for hip dysplasia []

It may be helpful to ask your doctor about the cast itself in addition to reviewing tips for managing a child in a hip spica cast. []

Two separate research studies have shown that a Goretex waterproof cast liner can decrease skin irritation and improve ease of care for infants in a cast for hip dysplasia.

Standard cotton-based cast liners can be cut to fit and are widely available compared to waterproof cast liners that come in different sizes. The Goretex hip spica liners need to be ordered in advance or the hospital needs to keep an inventory of different sizes so this influences availability of waterproof hip spica liners.

Most of the Top Children’s Orthopedic Hospitals recognized by US News and World Report use this liner, but it is somewhat expensive and may not be completely reimbursed by insurance companies. However, the waterproof liners have been shown to be cost-effective because fewer cast changes are needed for soiling or skin problems.

A waterproof liner is especially helpful for infants because they can’t control their bowel and bladder. It is difficult to clean a cast that has been soiled with urine or bowel movements and the urine may soften a cast made of plaster of Paris. For older children a standard cotton-based liner is often satisfactory because they can help keep their casts clean. You may want learn more []  and discuss this option with your doctor if your child is scheduled for a spica cast application.

Some doctors use synthetic fiberglass materials to apply the spica cast while others prefer standard plaster of Paris. In general, the synthetic materials hold up better and allow better x-rays in the cast. However, plaster of Paris is sometimes easier to mold so the hip stays in place better. The techniques for applying each of these materials are slightly different. Both come in rolls like elastic bandages that are used to treat sprains and decrease swelling. However, casting tape is filled with plaster of Paris or fiberglass resin that is activated by dipping the material in water. The setting process occurs in about five minutes so the doctor and cast technicians have time to apply the cast materials.

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